Receive the Holy Spirit

Pentecost Sunday
Lord, Send out your spirit and renew the face of the earth

Pentecost is a day of transformation. Transformation is work that the Lord God does. May God send out his Spirit to enlighten our minds and lead us into the truth that Jesus is the Son of God and he paid the price for our sins, opening to us The Way to God our Father.

In the first reading, people are amazed by these Galileans, who are able to communicate with Jews and Christian converts from other nations. The pslam and the epistle both echo that the work is the Lord’s and the glory is the Lord’s, and the power comes from God. We are God’s instruments when we cooperate with the inspirations of His Spirit.

The reading from John’s Gospel is foreshadows what will happen on the day of Pentecost. Jesus appears to his disciples after his Resurrection and before his Ascension, and breathes his Spirit into them to empower them to do the reconciling work of God.

Scriptures of the Day

Early Church: The Spirit enabled them: Acts 2:1–11

When the time for Pentecost was fulfilled, they were all in one place together. And suddenly there came from the sky a noise like a strong driving wind, and it filled the entire house in which they were. Then there appeared to them tongues as of fire, which parted and came to rest on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in different tongues, as the Spirit enabled them to proclaim. Now there were devout Jews from every nation under heaven staying in Jerusalem. At this sound, they gathered in a large crowd, but they were confused because each one heard them speaking in his own language. They were astounded, and in amazement they asked, “Are not all these people who are speaking Galileans? Then how does each of us hear them in his native language? We are Parthians, Medes, and Elamites, inhabitants of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the districts of Libya near Cyrene, as well as travelers from Rome, both Jews and converts to Judaism, Cretans and Arabs, yet we hear them speaking in our own tongues of the mighty acts of God.”

Psalm: Renew the face of the earth: 104: 1, 29–30, 31, 34

Bless the LORD, O my soul!
O LORD, my God, you are great indeed!
How manifold are your works, O Lord!
the earth is full of your creatures;

May the glory of the LORD endure forever;
may the LORD be glad in his works!
Pleasing to him be my theme;
I will be glad in the LORD.

If you take away their breath, they perish
and return to their dust.
When you send forth your spirit, they are created,
and you renew the face of the earth.

Epistle: Jesus is Lord: 1 Corinthians 12:3b–7, 12–13

Brothers and sisters: No one can say, “Jesus is Lord,” except by the Holy Spirit. There are different kinds of spiritual gifts but the same Spirit; there are different forms of service but the same Lord; there are different workings but the same God who produces all of them in everyone. To each individual the manifestation of the Spirit is given for some benefit. As a body is one though it has many parts, and all the parts of the body, though many, are one body, so also Christ. For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, slaves or free persons, and we were all given to drink of one Spirit.

Gospel: Shalom: John 20:19–23

On the evening of that first day of the week, when the doors were locked, where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in their midst and said to them, “Peace be with you.” When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. The disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained.”

Blessings of the Day

May God the Father of lights, who was pleased to enlighten the disciples’ minds by the outpouring of the Spirit, the Paraclete, grant you gladness by his blessing and make you always abound in the gifts of the same Spirit.

May the wondrous flame that appeared above the disciples, powerfully cleanse your hearts from every evil and pervade them with its purifying light.

And may God who has been pleased to unite many tongues in the profession of faith, give you perseverance in that same faith and, by believing, may you journey from hope to clear vision.

Quote of the Day: You are loved

Once again, we find ourselves experiencing pain before which words seem insufficient. I have previously addressed victims of terrorist acts; I have addressed their families; I have even addressed those who may have had an opportunity, even in some small way, to advocate for or support those most vulnerable. This time however, I feel a need to address those who perpetrate these crimes.

You are loved. The violent and deadly crimes you perpetrate are abhorrent and detestable, but YOU are loved.

You are loved by God, your Creator, for He created you in His Image and according to His Likeness, and placed you on this earth for much greater things, according to His plan for all humankind. You are loved by me and millions like me, not because of what you do, but what you are capable of as that wonderful creation of God, Who has created us with a shared humanity. You are loved by me and millions like me because I, and we, believe in transformation.

Transformation is core to the Christian message for throughout history we have seen many transformed from being those who persecuted Christ Himself and Christians, to those who went on to live with grace. We believe in transformation because, on a daily basis, we are personally transformed from a life of human weakness and sinfulness to a life of power and righteousness. We believe in transformation because the whole message of the Cross and Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ is to take humanity from the bonds of sin and death to a liberation in goodness and everlasting life. Our world is certainly suffering from the brokenness of our humanity, but it is our responsibility, personally and collectively, to encourage and inspire ourselves, and all those whom we meet along our path, to a life of virtue and holiness, and the love and forgiveness of all.

— Bishop Angaelos, Coptic Orthodox Church of the United Kingdom, May 27 response to terror attacks

Prayer of Pope Francis on Pentecost Sunday

The Holy Spirit is the fire of love burning in the Church and in our hearts, even though we often cover him with the ash of our sins.  Let us ask him: “Spirit of God, Lord, who dwell in my heart and in the heart of the Church, guiding and shaping her in diversity, come!  Like water, we need you to live.  Come down upon us anew, teach us unity, renew our hearts and teach us to love as you love us, to forgive as you forgive us.  Amen.”

More about Pentecost

Question of the Day

Has the Holy Spirit empowered you to proclaim “Jesus is Lord”? Has the Spirit strengthened you to proclaim “Jesus is Lord,” not just in your mind and heart, but also in the public square?

Do you desire to have the power of the Holy Spirit at work in your life? If yes, then pray:

Come, Holy Spirit,
send forth the heavenly
radiance of your light.

Come, father of the poor,
come, giver of gifts,
come, light of the heart.

Greatest comforter,
sweet guest of the soul,
sweet consolation.

In labor, rest,
in heat, temperance,
in tears, solace.

O most blessed light,
fill the inmost heart
of your faithful.

Without your grace,
there is nothing in us,
nothing that is not harmful.

Cleanse that which is unclean,
water that which is dry,
heal that which is wounded.

Bend that which is inflexible,
fire that which is chilled,
correct what goes astray.

Give to your faithful,
those who trust in you,
the sevenfold gifts.

Grant the reward of virtue,
grant the deliverance of salvation,
grant eternal joy.

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My Lord, My God

Second Sunday of Easter: Feast of Divine Mercy

February 22, 1931

47. In the evening when I was in my cell, I saw the Lord Jesus clothed in a white garment. One hand [was] raised in the gesture of blessing, the other was touching the garment at the breast. From beneath the garment, slightly drawn aside from at breast, there were emanating two large rays, one red, the other pale. In silence I kept my gaze fixed on the Lord; my soul was struck with awe, but also with great joy. After a while, Jesus said to me, Paint an image according to the pattern you see, with the signature: Jesus, I trust in You. I desire that this image be venerated, first in your chapel, and [then] throughout the world.

48. I promise that the soul that will venerate this image will not perish. I also promise victory over [its] enemies already here on earth, especially at the hour of death. I Myself will defend it as My own glory.

49. …My image is already in your soul. I desire that there be a Feast of Mercy. I want this image, which you will paint with a brush, to be solemnly blessed on the first Sunday after Easter; that Sunday is to be the Feast of Mercy.

Divine Mercy in My Soul: Diary of Saint Faustina

Image of Divine Mercy

divinemercy_vilnius

313. Once when I was visiting the artist [Eugene Kazimirowki] who was painting the image, and saw that it was not as beautiful as Jesus is, I felt very sad about it, but I hid this deep in my heart. When we had left the artist’s house, Mother Superior [Irene] stayed in town to attend to some matters while I returned home alone. I said to the Lord, “Who will paint You as beautiful as You are?” Then I heard these words: Not in the beauty of the color, nor of the brush lies the greatness of this image, but in my grace.

Divine Mercy in My Soul: Diary of Saint Faustina

Message of Divine Mercy
Ask for mercy; be merciful to others; completely trust in Jesus

965. Jesus looked at me and said, Souls perish in spite of My bitter Passion. I am giving them the last hope of salvation, that is, the Feast of My Mercy. If they will not adore My Mercy, they will perish for all eternity. Secretary of My Mercy, write, tell souls about this great mercy of Mine, because the awful day, the day of My justice, is near.

Divine Mercy in My Soul: Diary of Saint Faustina

699. My daughter, tell the whole world about My Inconceivable mercy. I desire that the Feast of Mercy be a refuge and shelter for all souls, and especially for poor sinners. On that day the very depths of My tender mercy are open. I pour out a whole ocean of graces upon those souls who approach the Fount of My Mercy. …On that day all the divine floodgates through which graces flow are opened. Let no soul fear to draw near to Me, even though its sins be as scarlet. My mercy is so great that no mind, be it of man or of angel, will be able to fathom it throughout all eternity. Everything that exists has come forth from the very depths of My most tender mercy.

Divine Mercy in My Soul: Diary of Saint Faustina

Scriptures of the Day

Early Church: Acts of the Apostles 2:42–47

They devoted themselves
to the teaching of the apostles and to the communal life,
to the breaking of bread and to the prayers.
Awe came upon everyone,
and many wonders and signs were done through the apostles.
All who believed were together and had all things in common;
they would sell their property and possessions
and divide them among all according to each one’s need.
Every day they devoted themselves
to meeting together in the temple area
and to breaking bread in their homes.
They ate their meals with exultation and sincerity of heart,
praising God and enjoying favor with all the people.
And every day the Lord added to their number those who were being saved.

Epistle: 1 Peter 1:3–9

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
who in his great mercy gave us a new birth to a living hope
through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,
to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading,
kept in heaven for you
who by the power of God are safeguarded through faith,
to a salvation that is ready to be revealed in the final time.
In this you rejoice, although now for a little while
you may have to suffer through various trials,
so that the genuineness of your faith,
more precious than gold that is perishable even though tested by fire,
may prove to be for praise, glory, and honor
at the revelation of Jesus Christ.
Although you have not seen him you love him;
even though you do not see him now yet believe in him,
you rejoice with an indescribable and glorious joy,
as you attain the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

Gospel of the Day: John 20:19–31

On the evening of that first day of the week,
when the doors were locked, where the disciples were,
for fear of the Jews,
Jesus came and stood in their midst
and said to them, “Peace be with you.”
When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side.
The disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord.
Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you.
As the Father has sent me, so I send you.”
And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them,
“Receive the Holy Spirit.
Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them,
and whose sins you retain are retained.”

Thomas, called Didymus, one of the Twelve,
was not with them when Jesus came.
So the other disciples said to him, “We have seen the Lord.”
But he said to them,
“Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands
and put my finger into the nailmarks
and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.”

Now a week later his disciples were again inside
and Thomas was with them.
Jesus came, although the doors were locked,
and stood in their midst and said, “Peace be with you.”
Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here and see my hands,
and bring your hand and put it into my side,
and do not be unbelieving, but believe.”
Thomas answered and said to him, “My Lord and my God!”
Jesus said to him, “Have you come to believe because you have seen me?
Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed.”

Now, Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples
that are not written in this book.
But these are written that you may come to believe
that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God,
and that through this belief you may have life in his name.

Mini Homily: Mercy Heals a Wounded Heart

Pray the Chaplet of Divine Mercy

Questions of the Day

  • What obstacle prevents you from believing in Jesus?
  • Are you present to the presence of Jesus?

502. Only love has meaning; it raises up our smallest actions into infinity.

Divine Mercy in My Soul: Diary of Saint Faustina

Walking in the bright light of faith

For centuries, Christians have walked the Stations of the Cross (Via Crucis) during Lent; year-round on Fridays; and daily at 3 p.m., the hour of Christ’s death. In recent times, we’ve received a set of stations to walk during the Easter season, to celebrate and meditate on the Resurrection of Jesus. It’s called the Via Lucis, or Way of Light.

The Via Lucis

153. A pious exercise called the Via Lucis has developed and spread to many regions in recent years. Following the model of the Via Crucis, the faithful process while meditating on the various appearances of Jesus – from his Resurrection to his Ascension – in which he showed his glory to the disciples who awaited the coming of the Holy Spirit (cf. John 14, 26; 16, 13-15; Lk 24, 49), strengthened their faith, brought to completion his teaching on the Kingdom and more closely defined the sacramental and hierarchical structure of the Church.

Through the Via Lucis, the faithful recall the central event of the faith – the resurrection of Christ – and their discipleship in virtue of Baptism, the paschal sacrament by which they have passed from the darkness of sin to the bright radiance of the light of grace (cf. Col 1, 13; Ef 5, 8).

Via Lucis: Stations of the Resurrection
(prayers by Father Cameron, Magnificat)

Introductory prayer

First station: Jesus rises from the dead (Matthew 28:1-7)
Prayer: Lord Jesus, may this Easter be fore me a new beginning in grace, in which I keep my mind and heart fixed on the higher things of heaven.

Second station: The disciples find the empty tomb (John 20:1-9)
Prayer: Lord Jesus, make me as empty as your tomb of everything that separates me from you, and fill me with your risen presence.

Third station: Jesus appears to Mary Magdalene (John 20:11-18)
Prayer: Lord Jesus, help me to understand that suffering means receiving your love in the measure that you desire to give it, for my benefit and to your glory.

Fourth station:  Jesus walks with the disciples to Emmaus (Luke 24:13-27)
Prayer: Lord Jesus, as I journey through the day be close to me, so that all those I encounter may experience your presence through your Word dwelling within me.

Fifth station: Jesus reveals himself in the breaking of the bread (Luke 24:28-35)
Prayer: Lord Jesus, help me to live by faith so that my life may be a perfect gift of self.

Sixth station:  Jesus appears to his disciples  (Luke 24:36-43)
Prayer: Lord Jesus, may I live fully mindful of your Presence, and fully alive through my union with you.

Seventh station: Jesus confers on his disciples the power to forgive sins (John 20:19-23)
Prayer: Lord Jesus, keep me united to you in holiness, that I may always be generous in showing forgiveness to others.

Eighth station: Jesus confirms Thomas in faith (John 20:24-29)
Prayer: Lord Jesus, heal me by your wounds, and make me compassionate and generous in embracing the woundedness of others.

Ninth station: Jesus appears to his disciples on the shore of Lake Galilee (John 21:1-13)
Prayer: Lord Jesus, may the appearance of your grace transform my worldly ways, and keep me obedient to your commandments with confidence and joy.

Tenth station: Jesus confers primacy on Peter (John 21:15-17)
Prayer: Lord Jesus, help me to make every moment of my life an act of unceasing love for you, and to be ever obedient by loving your Church.

Eleventh station: Jesus entrusts his disciples with a universal mission (Matthew 28:16-20)
Prayer: Lord Jesus, may the witness of my life proclaim your holy name so as to draw others into union with you.

Twelfth station: Jesus ascends into heaven (Acts 1:6-11)
Prayer: Lord Jesus, give me the eyes of faith, and make me deeply spiritual, so that I will always think and act in a godly way.

Thirteenth station: Mary and the disciples await the coming of the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:12-14)
Prayer: Lord Jesus, through the maternal mediation of your holy Mother, bring about in me the moral perfection and holiness befitting the children of God.

Fourteenth station: Jesus sends the Spirit promised by the Father to his disciples (Acts 2:1-13)
Prayer: Lord Jesus, free me from all shackles of the flesh to live by the Spirit to your everlasting glory.

Walk the Way of Light

He opened their minds to the scriptures

Easter Thursday
The resurrected Christ desires to give us His peace,
a peace that comes when we repent of our sins and receive God’s forgiveness

Gospel of the Day: Luke 24:35–48

The disciples of Jesus recounted what had taken place along the way,
and how they had come to recognize him in the breaking of bread.

While they were still speaking about this,
he stood in their midst and said to them,
“Peace be with you.”
But they were startled and terrified
and thought that they were seeing a ghost.
Then he said to them, “Why are you troubled?
And why do questions arise in your hearts?
Look at my hands and my feet, that it is I myself.
Touch me and see, because a ghost does not have flesh and bones
as you can see I have.”
And as he said this,
he showed them his hands and his feet.
While they were still incredulous for joy and were amazed,
he asked them, “Have you anything here to eat?”
They gave him a piece of baked fish;
he took it and ate it in front of them.

He said to them,
“These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you,
that everything written about me in the law of Moses
and in the prophets and psalms must be fulfilled.”
Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures.
And he said to them,
“Thus it is written that the Christ would suffer
and rise from the dead on the third day
and that repentance, for the forgiveness of sins,
would be preached in his name
to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem.
You are witnesses of these things.”

Disciples on the Journey

Jesus handpicked his apostles. He spent three years training them during his public ministry. They watched him suffer, and scattered. Even as they witnessed his resurrection, they struggled to understand. Our journey is like theirs: we don’t get it; we have trouble believing; our hearts are troubled, lacking peace; we are full of questions; we don’t know how to pray; we want to believe, but we need proof. We are totally dependent upon Jesus opening our minds to the scriptures, and until he does, we must be patient and trust. We must seek and knock and trust that the door will be opened as promised. In the Gospel reading today, Jesus says “touch me and see.” We may not be able to physically touch the Risen Jesus, but we can be touched by him when he fills us with his Spirit. And we can dine with him when we receive him in the Eucharist. Laudetur Jesus Christus

Question of the Day

Are you amazed and incredulous for joy by the reality that Christ is Risen?

Prayer for the Evening
From the Te Deum

Come then, Lord, and help your people,
bought with the price of your own blood,
and bring us with your saints
to glory everlasting.

The path of life made known

Easter Monday

Abide in confidence

Scriptures of the Day

New Testament Proclamation: Acts of the Apostles 2:14, 22–33

On the day of Pentecost, Peter stood up with the Eleven,
raised his voice, and proclaimed:
“You who are Jews, indeed all of you staying in Jerusalem.
Let this be known to you, and listen to my words.

“You who are children of Israel, hear these words.
Jesus the Nazorean was a man commended to you by God
with mighty deeds, wonders, and signs,
which God worked through him in your midst, as you yourselves know.
This man, delivered up by the set plan and foreknowledge of God,
you killed, using lawless men to crucify him.
But God raised him up, releasing him from the throes of death,
because it was impossible for him to be held by it.
For David says of him:

I saw the Lord ever before me,
with him at my right hand I shall not be disturbed.
Therefore my heart has been glad and my tongue has exulted;
my flesh, too, will dwell in hope,
because you will not abandon my soul to the nether world,
nor will you suffer your holy one to see corruption.
You have made known to me the paths of life;
you will fill me with joy in your presence.

My brothers, one can confidently say to you
about the patriarch David that he died and was buried,
and his tomb is in our midst to this day.
But since he was a prophet and knew that God had sworn an oath to him
that he would set one of his descendants upon his throne,
he foresaw and spoke of the resurrection of the Christ,
that neither was he abandoned to the netherworld
nor did his flesh see corruption.
God raised this Jesus;
of this we are all witnesses.
Exalted at the right hand of God,
he poured forth the promise of the Holy Spirit
that he received from the Father, as you both see and hear.”

Psalm 16:1–2A, 5, 7–8, 9–10, 11

Keep me, O God, for in you I take refuge;
I say to the LORD, “My Lord are you.”
O LORD, my allotted portion and my cup,
you it is who hold fast my lot.

I bless the LORD who counsels me;
even in the night my heart exhorts me.
I set the LORD ever before me;
with him at my right hand I shall not be disturbed.

Therefore my heart is glad and my soul rejoices,
my body, too, abides in confidence;
Because you will not abandon my soul to the nether world,
nor will you suffer your faithful one to undergo corruption.

You will show me the path to life,
fullness of joys in your presence,
the delights at your right hand forever.

Gospel: Matthew 28:8–15

Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went away quickly from the tomb,
fearful yet overjoyed,
and ran to announce the news to his disciples.
And behold, Jesus met them on their way and greeted them.
They approached, embraced his feet, and did him homage.
Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid.
Go tell my brothers to go to Galilee,
and there they will see me.”

While they were going, some of the guard went into the city
and told the chief priests all that had happened.
The chief priests assembled with the elders and took counsel;
then they gave a large sum of money to the soldiers,
telling them, “You are to say,
‘His disciples came by night and stole him while we were asleep.’
And if this gets to the ears of the governor,
we will satisfy him and keep you out of trouble.”
The soldiers took the money and did as they were instructed.
And this story has circulated among the Jews to the present day.

Ever New

In his homily at Mass today Father stressed the need “to realize there is something more.”

How appropriate to dwell on this truth the day after Easter. No matter how many times we have read or heard a story or passage of scripture, there is always something more to discover. It is a mistake to think, oh, I know that story, and move on to something else.

However close Jesus has drawn us toward him, we can always be drawn closer. Whatever love flows through (to or from) your heart, move love is possible. Whatever suffering you are being asked to endure this day, there is something greater and beyond the pain.

There is something more than what my eyes see and ears hear. Something beyond what the body experiences. Perception is not always reality. All that we know and understand from having lived in this body for a few brief years and also as the whole of humanity passing through time and space, there is something more: eternity.

Questions of the Day

  • How seriously do you take the reality of eternity—that place beyond space and time, which awaits us after we pass from this life?
  • Have you tasted “something more”?
  • Does your flesh “dwell in hope”?

Song of the Day
Matt Maher, Alive Again

 

Raised to New Life

The Resurrection of the Lord

Quote of the Day

Faith in the Resurrection of Jesus says that there is a future for every human being: the cry for unending life which is a part of the person is indeed answered. — Pope Benedict XVI

Scriptures of the Day

Witnesses: Acts of the Apostles 10:34A, 37–43

Peter proceeded to speak and said:
“You know what has happened all over Judea,
beginning in Galilee after the baptism
that John preached,
how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth
with the Holy Spirit and power.
He went about doing good
and healing all those oppressed by the devil,
for God was with him.
We are witnesses of all that he did
both in the country of the Jews and in Jerusalem.
They put him to death by hanging him on a tree.
This man God raised on the third day and granted that he be visible,
not to all the people, but to us,
the witnesses chosen by God in advance,
who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead.
He commissioned us to preach to the people
and testify that he is the one appointed by God
as judge of the living and the dead.
To him all the prophets bear witness,
that everyone who believes in him
will receive forgiveness of sins through his name.”

Raised With Christ: Colossians 3:1–4

Brothers and sisters:
If then you were raised with Christ, seek what is above,
where Christ is seated at the right hand of God.
Think of what is above, not of what is on earth.
For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.
When Christ your life appears,
then you too will appear with him in glory.

Love Runs: John 20:1–9

On the first day of the week,
Mary of Magdala came to the tomb early in the morning,
while it was still dark,
and saw the stone removed from the tomb.
So she ran and went to Simon Peter
and to the other disciple whom Jesus loved, and told them,
“They have taken the Lord from the tomb,
and we don’t know where they put him.”
So Peter and the other disciple went out and came to the tomb.
They both ran, but the other disciple ran faster than Peter
and arrived at the tomb first;
he bent down and saw the burial cloths there, but did not go in.
When Simon Peter arrived after him,
he went into the tomb and saw the burial cloths there,
and the cloth that had covered his head,
not with the burial cloths but rolled up in a separate place.
Then the other disciple also went in,
the one who had arrived at the tomb first,
and he saw and believed.
For they did not yet understand the Scripture
that he had to rise from the dead.

Easter Hope

We, like Peter and the women, cannot discover life by being sad, bereft of hope. Let us not stay imprisoned within ourselves, but let us break open our sealed tombs to the Lord – each of us knows what they are – so that he may enter and grant us life. Let us give him the stones of our rancour and the boulders of our past, those heavy burdens of our weaknesses and falls. Christ wants to come and take us by the hand to bring us out of our anguish. This is the first stone to be moved aside this night: the lack of hope which imprisons us within ourselves. May the Lord free us from this trap, from being Christians without hope, who live as if the Lord were not risen, as if our problems were the centre of our lives.

We see and will continue to see problems both within and without. They will always be there. But tonight it is important to shed the light of the Risen Lord upon our problems, and in a certain sense, to “evangelize” them. To evangelize our problems. Let us not allow darkness and fear to distract us and control us; we must cry out to them: the Lord “is not here, but has risen!” (v. 6). He is our greatest joy; he is always at our side and will never let us down.

This is the foundation of our hope, which is not mere optimism, nor a psychological attitude or desire to be courageous. Christian hope is a gift that God gives us if we come out of ourselves and open our hearts to him. This hope does not disappoint us because the Holy Spirit has been poured into our hearts (cf. Rom 5:5). The Paraclete does not make everything look appealing. He does not remove evil with a magic wand. But he pours into us the vitality of life, which is not the absence of problems, but the certainty of being loved and always forgiven by Christ, who for us has conquered sin, conquered death and conquered fear. Today is the celebration of our hope, the celebration of this truth: nothing and no one will ever be able to separate us from his love (cf. Rom 8:39).

The Lord is alive and wants to be sought among the living. After having found him, each person is sent out by him to announce the Easter message, to awaken and resurrect hope in hearts burdened by sadness, in those who struggle to find meaning in life. There is so necessary today. However, we must not proclaim ourselves. Rather, as joyful servants of hope, we must announce the Risen One by our lives and by our love; otherwise we will be only an international organization full of followers and good rules, yet incapable of offering the hope for which the world longs.

— Pope Francis, Easter Vigil 2016 homily

Questions of the Day

What was it about the burial cloths of Jesus left behind in the tomb that caused John to see and believe?

Is the Shroud of Turin the winding sheet of Jesus?

Is Jesus Christ Crucified and Resurrected at the center of your life?